Esna The “town of the fish"
The town of Esna (Ta-senet to the ancient Egyptians and Latopolis to the Greeks).
Its name Ta-senet and Latopolis means “town of the fish” where the Nile perch was worshiped.
The agricultural town of Esna is on the west bank of the Nile 55km south of Luxor. Cruise boats often make this town their first port of call after leaving Luxor to visit the remains of a Ptolemaic temple in the centre of the town.
The temple was built almost nine metres below ground level and although the hypostyle hall was excavated by Marriett, the rest of the temple is still buried underneath the modern town. As a result the temple appears to sit in a large pit hollowed out from the town.
it was dedicated to the god Khnum and several other deities, including Neith, Heka, Satet and Menheyet.
Esna Temple would once have been built to a plan similar to the temples at Edfu and Dendera but all that now remains is the hypostyle hall which was built by the Roman Emperor Claudius who extended earlier buildings. The oldest part of the structure seen today is the west (back) wall which would have been the façade of the original temple, depicting reliefs of Ptolemy VI Philometer and Ptolemy VIII Neos Philopator. The earliest king mentioned here is Ptolemy V, who is being offered a libation by his son Ptolemy VII. The part of the temple we see today is around a quarter of the size of the original building.
The roof of the hypostyle hall is still intact, supported by 24 columns each with varied floral capitals. They are decorated with texts describing the religious festivals of the town and several Roman emperors before the gods. One of the columns shows the Emperor Trajan dancing before the goddess Menheyet. Another nearby temple which was also mentioned in the texts, has been excavated at Kom Mer, south of Esna.
Take a tour to Esna from Luxor only 45min.
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